As Black History Month comes to an end, Glendale Community College Sociology adjunct faculty member Dr. Sharon Lee held a meeting on Feb. 24 at the GCC Student Union to discuss a six year study that she was a part of and went on from 2003-2009. The study showed how NCAA football programs lacked minority football leadership positions, most notably head coaching positions.
Dr. Lee described how the Black Coaches Association (BCA) along with the union of schools associated with them pointed out several issues to the NCAA on how minorities were not being considered as possible head coaches.
“Our study was very focused on making sure that the most qualified person got the job, but making sure the minorities at least had a seat at the table, and I think that whatever is important is going to get measured,” Lee said.
According to Lee, the studies also followed different parts of a program’s head coaching search and every year released a report card on how FBS and FCS programs were changing their hiring process knowing the reports would eventually be out for everyone to see as they would go on to make it on ESPN.
One of the main arguments in the study was that how come if the majority of college football players are minorities and programs seek head coaches who have played the game, then why is there not more minority coaches being considered for a job?
Lee made it clear that the BCA reports were meant to change the way NCAA programs viewed minorities while looking for a head coach and that is what would eventually go on to happen.
“People talk about having perceptions about who they were already before they even walked in… and so you’re just a running backs coach, so how do you really know? You know how to run the ball and that’s great, but how are you going to be able to run a program?,” Lee said.
Head coaches at the NCAA level have to not only be able to coach a team, but they have to know how to manage their way through contracts, boosters, and most importantly recruiting. Many schools did not believe that a minorities were capable of doing that.
Lee stated that the BCA studies showed more minorities were at least being brought in for an interview and being looked at by more programs. Although minorities were now being considered and even hired as the leader of a football program, the study eventually ended in 2009 and things went back to the way they were before.
Whether schools only began to change because they were being targeted by the reports or not, the BCA studies opened the eyes of many schools and would go on to help minorities seek opportunities that may have not been available to them before 2003.